Free MLB Picks for Friday, July 26, 2019
Major League Baseball really is terrible at marketing itself - it's why there's no true recognizable superstar in the sport like a LeBron James in the NBA or Tom Brady in the NFL. Seriously, would you recognize Mike Trout if he was walking down the street in regular clothes? No chance. This brings me to the opener Friday of the Dodgers-Nationals series from D.C. This could have been must-see TV and created a ton of buzz between the two leading NL Cy Young contenders if the Nationals had opted to activate ace Max Scherzer for this game instead of doing so for a Thursday matinee against Colorado. That's because the Dodgers are starting MLB ERA leader Hyun-Jin Ryu. Instead, this is just another game on a Friday full of them. Look, I get the Nats have to do what's best for them, but can't MLB teams sometimes consider helping boost the league as a whole? What's one more day waiting on Scherzer?
Dodgers at Nationals (+148, 9)
Very possibly a playoff preview as the Dodgers surely will be the NL's top seed and face the Wild-Card winner in the NLDS - which could be Washington. Scherzer is likely still the NL Cy Young favorite although that gap has closed with him missing three weeks or so. Ryu (11-2, 1.76) is right there in also leading the NL in WHIP (0.93). He comes off seven innings of one-run ball in a win over the Marlins. Ryu blanked the Nats on one hit over eight innings on May 12. Anthony Rendon is 2-for-8 with a homer off him. Washington's Anibal Sanchez (6-6, 3.80) hasn't lost since he fell to 0-6 by allowing three runs over 4.1 innings on May 10 in L.A. Joc Pederson is 3-for-8 with two homers against him.
Key trends: The Dodgers are 4-15 in Ryu's past 19 road starts vs. teams with a winning record. The "over/under" has gone under in eight of Washington's past 10 at home.
Early lean: Nationals (they kill lefties) and under.
Braves at Phillies (+107, 9.5)
Atlanta's Mike Soroka (10-2, 2.46) continues his NL Rookie of the Year push, although he's behind Mets slugger Pete Alonso right now. Soroka is among NL leaders in wins, ERA and WHIP (1.09). Been a bit mortal of late, though, allowing four earned in two of his past three outings. Could be hitting the rookie wall. His one start vs. the Phillies was one of those two (July 4: 4.2 IP, 9 H, 4 ER). Bryce Harper is 2-for-2 off him. Philadelphia's Jake Arrieta (8-7, 4.40) had been struggling a bit but has allowed one earned run in each of his past two. He beat Atlanta in his season debut (6 IP, 1 ER). Freddie Freeman is 5-for-17 with four RBIs off him.
Key trends: The Braves are 9-1 in Soroka's past 10 vs. the NL East. The under has hit in five straight Phillies games.
Early lean: Braves and under.
Yankees at Red Sox (+115, 11.5)
MLB Network national TV game because of course it is. The Yanks have put All-Star catcher Gary Sanchez back on the injured list after he suffered a groin injury running out a ground on Tuesday (that's what you get for hustling!). New York lefty James Paxton (5-5, 4.20) hasn't been able to pick up a win in five straight outings. Wasn't good last time out vs. the Rockies, tagged for seven runs (four earned) over 3.1 innings. Paxton dominated Boston on April 16 (8 IP, 2 H, 0 ER). Mitch Moreland, just activated off the injured list, is 2-for-9 with seven strikeouts off him. The Sox's Andrew Cashner (9-3, 3.83) has lost both outings since a trade from Baltimore, allowing four total homers. He is 2-5 with a 3.96 ERA in 10 career starts vs. New York. Gleyber Torres is 6-for-13 with two homers off him.
Key trends: The Yanks have lost Paxton's past four starts. The over is 13-6-1 in the Red Sox's past 20 at home vs. lefties.
Early lean: Red Sox and over.
Pirates at Mets (-143, 8.5)
Huge start for New York's Zack Wheeler (6-6, 4.69) as the Mets need him to look good and come out of it healthy or they aren't going to be able to trade him by next Wednesday. He hasn't pitched since July 7 when he allowed six runs over five innings vs. the Phillies and eventually landed on the injured list with shoulder fatigue. This almost surely will be his last start in a Mets uniform unless he leaves injured or is bombed. Wheeler hasn't faced the Bucs in 2019. Pittsburgh's Dario Agrazal (2-0, 2.25) makes his sixth big-league start, and he hasn't allowed more than two earned in any of them yet. It's his first look at the Mets.
Key trends: The Mets are 5-1 in Wheeler's past six at home. The over is 7-2-1 in his previous 10 there.
Early lean: Mets and over.
Diamondbacks at Marlins (+165, 7.5)
Could this be the last start in a Diamondbacks uniform for former Cy Young winner Zack Greinke (10-4, 2.93)? No question the Snakes would like to deal him, but not many teams - if any - are going to take on the combined $70 million he's owed over the next two seasons. If Greinke was 30 instead of 35, then he'd be in high demand. He comes off a no-decision vs. the Brewers, allowing two runs over seven and hasn't seen the Marlins in 2019. Miami's Sandy Alcantara (4-9, 4.25) has shown some promise at age 23, but the Fish have lost his past four outings. It's his first career look at Arizona.
Key trends: The Snakes are 8-3 in Greinke's past 11 on the road vs. teams with a losing record. The under has hit in six straight of his road starts.
Early lean: Diamondbacks and under.
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